12 die in head-on horror
THE N1 between Polokwane and Louis Trichardt was closed yesterday morning after a multiple pile-up claimed the lives of 12 people.
The horror smash occurred after a road accident on Sunday claimed a similar number of lives in Groblersdal.
Eleven people were initially killed in the highway accident yesterday but the number increased to 12 after a baby - estimated to be two years old - reportedly died a few hours after being admitted with 16 other crash victims to hospital.
Polokwane police spokesperson Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said the accident took place at about 5am, some 15km from the city.
"Most of the victims were passengers of a taxi which ferried people from Polokwane to areas around Louis Trichardt, Venda or Musina, while only a few were travelling in their private cars," he said yesterday.
Ngoepe said the accident took place when a truck which was overtaking another truck collided with a taxi.
"Two sedans and a bus ferrying passengers from Polokwane to Zimbabwe also smashed into the same taxi, killing 11 people instantly and leaving 17 others seriously injured."
Spokesperson for the health and social development department Selby Makgotho said yesterday that 14 people were admitted to Polokwane Provincial Hospital while three others were admitted to Seshego Hospital.
The names of the deceased had not been released at the time of going to press.
The pile-up forced motorists to use an alternative road from the Polokwane's off-ramp to the Modjadjiskloof road through Bendor suburb - as the only means to get in and out of the city.
Several people who use public and private vehicles to go to work in Polokwane arrived late because of the accident.
"We wanted to clear the road before we opened it for traffic as the rubble of the affected vehicles and the bodies of the victims were scattered along the road," Ngoepe said.
Meanwhile the department of roads and transport in Limpopo said yesterday it will financially aid families of the victims of the Groblersdal accident - to give their loved ones a dignified funeral.
Departmental spokesperson Wisani Ngobeni said his department was alarmed by the number of deaths on Limpopo roads this year.
He said the department would intensify its roads safety efforts to curb the loss of life on the province's roads.
The names of the Groblersdal accident victims were also not available at the time of going to press.